Hypothermia is an extremely serious medical condition which develops when the body temperature falls below what is considered to be safe for life. Infants and the elderly population are most at risk for developing Hypothermia because of their compromised immune state.
The temperature of the body is controlled by the hypothalamus which recognizes any change in body temperature and regulates it to ensure that the temperature remains normal. However, in extremely cold weather conditions where temperature falls much below the freezing point, the body requires more heat for all the organs of the body to function normally. This is normally provided by shivering.
However, if the heat loss becomes more than the heat produced in the body the overall temperature of the body starts dropping. When this temperature falls below safe levels then hypothermia develops. Hypothermia can cause organs to malfunction and ultimately fail resulting in the affected individual to succumb to this condition.
What Does Hypothermia Feel Like?
The moment an individual develops Hypothermia, the ability of the individual to think and react will start to decline. If Hypothermia is mild, then the individual may experience:
- Feeling hungry
- Rapid breathing
- Problems with speaking
- Coordination problems
- Increased feeling of tiredness
If prompt treatment is not given then the symptoms may progress and severe Hypothermia may set in. In such cases, the individual may experience:
- The shivering to stop
- Little to no coordination
- Slurring speech
- Excessive confusion
- Drowsiness or feeling extremely sleepy
- Pulse will become weak
- Shallow breathing
At this stage, the vital organs of the body start to malfunction due to hypothermia. The individual may fall asleep and succumb to this condition. In cases of infants, Hypothermia may cause them to have :
- Bright red skin
- The skin surface will become cold
- They will have a weak cry
In conclusion, Hypothermia is an emergent medical condition which needs to be treated immediately. As soon as Hypothermia sets in, it is mandatory to keep the affected individual or infant in a warm room such that the condition does not worsen before taking them to a hospital or emergency room where they can be treated for Hypothermia.